Clockwise from top left: The Family Court Practice 2015
hot off the press, an artist's impression of Ecotricity: Vince v Wyatt  UKSC 14
, the 5th annual Family Law Awards
: the biggest and best yet, mandatory food standards for all court staff
, Family Law Update 2016
coming to a venue near you, the first Family Law Session
held in Bristol, our beloved snow covered Bristol Suspension Bridge, Costs in Family Proceedings
(the perfect stocking filler).
It's the most wonderful time of the year...Falalalalalala la la. We're getting into the festive spirit here at Family Law HQ. It's a time for mince pies, eggnog and Mariah Carey (the best Christmas song ever, fact). It's also a time to look back fondly over the year and reminisce. Our analysts have been hard at work and have produced this list of our top ten most popular articles for 2015.1. Ilott v Mitson  EWCA Civ 797
Number one is a bit of a surprise,in that it's an Inheritance Act case, but it obviously caught a lot of people's attention. Is this case an indication of legal aid cuts forcing family lawyers to spread their wings into other jurisdictions? Whatever the reason, we all wanted to read about whether the Court of Appeal would let Mrs Jackson's daughter keep £50,000 awarded to her at first instance, or whether the money would go to animal charities in accordance with Mrs Jackson's will. Mrs Jackson had been estranged from her only daughter for 26 years and her daughter had no expectation that she would receive anything, yet ... the Court of Appeal awarded her £143,000 to buy a house (plus expenses) and an extra £20,000 on top.2. Supreme Court allows appeal in Vince v Wyatt  UKSC 14
Gold-digging ex-wife entitled to millions of pounds after being divorced for a quarter of a century! No, that's not what the Supreme Court said - although you would be forgiven for thinking so, given some of the media reaction to this case. What the Supreme Court actually decided was that the Court of Appeal was wrong to strike out the ex-wife's claim. The Supreme Court confirmed that there is no power of summary judgment in the FPR 2010. The case would be remitted to the family court to be heard, but this didn't mean that the ex-wife would necessarily land a large award. In fact, the Supreme Court said that the ex-wife would face 'formidable difficulties' in obtaining a financial order in her favour. The case however, is a very good example of why it is so important to ensure that divorcing parties record their financial agreements in a court order.3. Sharland v Gohil - Supreme Court decision - Wives win
It was the big finance case of the year, and here at Family Law HQ we were glued to Supreme Court TV to find out what would happen (Downton Schmownton, this was waaay better). The Court of Appeal had sided with the non-disclosing husbands; would the Supreme Court find a way to allow the wives' appeals? Yes, it did, with Lady Hale in the case of Sharland
explaining that 'fraud unravels all'. The wives were pleased and family law professionals in general seemed to think it was the right result (or, if they didn't, they kept quiet about it!). You can read Hayley Trim's excellent analysis of the case here
.4. Recurrent misconceptions in TOLATA cases
In his article Rhys Taylor provided ten things to consider when dealing with a TOLATA case, ranging from advice about costs to what documents to get hold of. If you've a TOLATA case on the cards, read this article: it is really, really
useful - no wonder it was one of our most popular articles of 2015.
(In case you missed it, Rhys won our 2015 Commentator of the Year Award
, becoming the first lawyer to hold two gongs: he also won the Innovative Lawyer of the Year Award in 2012.)5. Final Report of the Financial Remedies Working Group 15 December 2014
Right at the beginning of the year we published the final report of the Financial Remedies Working Group. The report included a wealth of recommendations with a lot to keep the Family Procedure Rule Committee very busy. We are waiting to hear what the next steps will be to implement some of the recommendations and for more amendments to the FPR 2010 to emerge. You can keep up to date with all the latest family law news by signing up to our free weekly email here.